5 ways to work out the “going rate” for a present. #5 is the safest bet.

Ever fretted over how much to spend on a present? Thought so! Most people do. We've lost count of how many times this question comes up. So here's our definitive list of answers, and we've scored each method out of 5 for helpfulness and loveableness:

1. Ask your friends

As long as your friends don't mind revealing how much they give, post an open question on Facebook. You'll get a rough idea from your own peer group.

But how will the recipients of your gift feel if they see you've asked? And what if your friends are more generous or less generous than you? Or what if you have different sized pockets?

Score for helpfulness 2/5
Score for loveableness 1/5

2. Look up how much the recipients spent on your gift

As long as they came to your party before you went to theirs wedding you'll get a quick guide that completely avoids awkwardness.

But what if you're just not that flush? Or what if you feel expected to give more because... well... you seem more moneyed? But then you don't want them to feel awkward either. Even if you give the same amount and effectively do a "present trade", doesn't that defeat the sentiment?

Score for helpfulness 3/5
Score for loveableness 2/5

3. Work out how much you think they're spending on the party

As long as you can estimate the per head cost of entertaining you, you'll be able to "pay your way", right?

But won't that feel a bit like buying a ticket? And do you believe that your more affluent or friends or more generous-seeming friends should get bigger presents? And should your less affluent or less generous-seeming friends get smaller presents?

Score for helpfulness 3/5
Score for loveableness 1/5

4. Give what you can afford

As long as you're brave enough to ignore social pressures, you'll figure out your own "going rate". After all, who's right is it to judge you? That's right: nobody's!

But won't you feel like you could've given a bit more? And could you feel any regret if, in return, you got a bigger present when they come to your celebration? In any case, it's a pressure decision, isn't it!

Score for helpfulness 2/5
Score for loveableness 3/5

5. Give what you can afford plus 10%

Close your eyes. Imagine an appropriate amount that you'd like to give. Take away what you can't afford. Then add a bit... say... 10%.

This method has no buts. Yes, it's still a pressure decision. Although you're alleviating your own feelings of "that's a bit mean". You're squeezing yourself a bit so it really feels like giving. And the whole foundation of your calculation starts with what you would like your recipients to receive!

Score for helpfulness 4/5
Score for loveableness 5/5

Fretting about gifts or any other party problem?

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